Srs. Jane Ann Scanlon, Joan Brennan, Regina DeVitto, Mary Nerney, Carmel Caputo, Mary Ann Rossi and Deanna Sabetta assist in the celebration of a Golden Jubilee Mass in CT. The celebrant is Fr. Dave Reilly Photo, CND, 2009
We come from countries in North America, Central America, Asia, Africa and Europe where we live and work among the people. In response to a call from our loving God, we give our lives to work toward achieving God’s desire for a just and peaceful world for all peoples.
At St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, known for its saintly porter, Brother André, now St. André, there is a basilica on the top floor. Its stark simplicity seems to reach into the soul of anyone who steps inside it. The Stations of the Cross are particularly engaging. They are three dimensional life-size stone images, bas-reliefs. Unlike most stations, which are mounted above the heads of the people, these are at ground level. You stand in front of them as if in front of a real person, face to face, hand to hand. The cross is at shoulder height. You can look into the eyes and face of Jesus, the soldier, Mary, Veronica. The nails are large, more like spikes.
As you know, Pope Francis has dedicated 2015 as the year dedicated to consecrated life.
As you also may know, in 1997, John Paul II called for Consecrated Life to be promoted throughout the universal Church. He declared the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord, to be observed as World day for Consecrated Life.
As Congregation of Notre Dame Associates, we are grateful for our CND Sisters and unite with them in thanksgiving by either joining them at one the events scheduled in your local cities (see below) or holding our CNDs in prayer next weekend.
I have a new DVD on Human Trafficking. It is an excellent resource to educate others (High School and older) about Trafficking. It runs for 20 minutes and there are also materials to prepare for the viewing, a summary for after the viewing and sets of questions for different audiences. A local community might want to use it as well to update your Knowledge. The Documentary is Chosen and it was created by the group, Shared Hope International.
Words are important. More than 300 human rights organizations and anti-trafficking advocates from 40 nations sent an open letter asking the Associated Press to avoid terminology that legitimizes prostitution as a form of work. Many groups with whom we work (like Coalition Against Trafficking in Women) are trying to end the use of the term “sex work” because it conceals the violent and exploitative nature of the commercial sex trade. They asked the editor of the AP Stylebook to adopt alternative vocabulary that reflects the life realities of individuals bought and sold in prostitution. Studies and testimony of survivors demonstrate that the sex industry is predicated on dehumanization, degradation, and gender violence that cause life-long physical and psychological harm. Between 65 and 96 percent of people in prostitution have been sexually assaulted as children; 60 to 75 percent have been raped by pimps and sex purchasers; and between 70 and 95 percent have been physically assaulted in prostitution. One survivor said “prostitution is not ‘sex’ and it is not ‘work’ – it is a harmful practice steeped in gender and economic inequalities that leaves a devastating impact on the survivors.” It also renders invisible the traffickers, pimps, and brothel owners, and the buyers who prey on vulnerable people.
Given the world situations right now, this may bring you some hope.
A Path Appears, a film addressing human trafficking and the adversities faced by women and girls around the world will be shown on PBS Stations. Check your PBS Station. The film is based upon the most recent book, A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity, by authors/reporters Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn who also wrote the groundbreaking Half the Sky. Viewers will take the journey with Kristof and WuDunn and celebrity activists Malin Akerman, Mia Farrow, Ronan Farrow, Jennifer Garner, Regina Hall, Ashley Judd, Blake Lively, Eva Longoria, and Alfre Woodard to Colombia, Haiti, Kenya and throughout the United States as they explore the roots of gender inequality, the devastating impact of poverty and the consequences that can follow including sex trafficking, teen pregnancy, gender-based violence and child slavery. Along the way, they meet with inspiring activists who are creating effective solutions to combat gender-based oppression, transform lives and provide a roadmap for sustainable future change.
For nearly ten years you have been the Congrégation de Notre-Dame’s Representative against Human Trafficking.
How did you become involved in this field?
Since the very beginning of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, the orientation toward justice has been at the center of its mission. However, in these last decades, we have committed ourselves to assuming a stance and taking visible action for justice, peace and the integrity of creation. In view of these priorities, I was appointed the Congregation’s Social Justice Coordinator and its representative at UNANIMA International. When my term ended, I continued to be responsible for issues relative to trafficking. It is, undoubtedly, my work with First Nations in British Columbia which led me to become involved to such a degree in this issue. Because I have been able to see firsthand how native women live, I know that they are much more at risk than non-native women of becoming victims of serious violence, murder and of being trapped in trafficking and prostitution rings.